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Wrangler NFR bullfighter Nate Jestes recovering from surgery

by Tracy Renck | Feb 05, 2019

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Bullfighter Nathan Jestes is on the road to recovery after suffering a severe right hamstring injury Dec. 6 during Round 1 of the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.

Dr. Thomas Youm performed the two-hour surgery on Jestes in New York City, Jan. 31. Jestes has worked the Wrangler NFR 2016-18.

“I had two tears in my hamstring,” said Jestes, 31. "One of the tears was very uncommon, that's why I went to a specialist in Dr. Youm because he had performed this type of surgery before on similar tears of the hamstring. It was a reconstructive surgery where they used an Achilles tendon pretty much to reconstruct my hamstring.”

Jestes is home in Douglas, Wyo., and on the road to recovery.

“I’m in a full leg brace right now that keeps my leg bent at a 40-degree angle, and I’m also in a hip brace that goes right underneath my pec muscles on my chest right across my sternum. It straps around there, and then there’s this bar that goes down in front of my body and it connects to a big pad that wraps around my quad. What that is doing is keeping my upper body from bending over the top of that hamstring.

"We’re hoping by week four we'll start doing a little bit of rehab to wean myself off the braces and the crutches. After that, we will do a little bit of rehab stuff to start getting better. Dr. Youm expects it to be about six months before I can go for a jog again and eight to nine months before I could return to work. It could be sooner depending how I progress.” 

Jestes’ injury happened when he was hit by Rafter H Rodeo Livestock’s Left Lane after he bucked off Dustin Boquet in the Thomas & Mack Center.

“That bull came and hit me in the left hip and tossed me about 10 feet when he hit me," Jestes said. "When I landed, I landed with my right leg completely straight, and that bull kept charging and ran through me and pushed over the top of that straight leg. I was wearing knee braces, so the only thing that could give was my hamstring.”

Jestes, who joined the PRCA in 2010, is keeping the setback in perspective.

“This is all part of the game,” he said. “It sucks when it happens, but it is going to happen. As long as I can get back healthy and get back into that arena I will be happy. My goal is to not only get back in the arena, but to get back to the NFR.”

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